The reader is an evolving publication that functions as a critical tool for defining, developing and supporting the work at the Research Unit. Over the course of two years it will develop into a teaching tool that makes LGRU-research accessible to design students and young professionals. This reader will provide them with accessible theory so that they can put the radical changes that are taking place in their profession, into perspective.

The editorial team consists of an interdisciplinary and international group of designers, theoreticians and developers who will use existing and commissioned resources to study the relation between design practice and tools, to question how developments in digital media have an impact on the design discipline and who will look into the debate on Free, Libre and Open Source Software, open content and open standards.

The reader is articulated around the four themes that are central to the work at the LGRU: “Networked Graphics“, “Co-Position“, “Piksels and Lines” and finally “Abstracting Craft“. However it doesn’t exclude other themes to be included if necessary. For each research meeting, the editorial team prepares a collection of relevant texts that can help focus and contextualize the session. On the other hand, the meetings will be an opportunity for feedback to the proposed material from which we can extract problematics for the commissioned essays.

The reader itself is a digital publication developed by an international team of designers and theorists. It will finally contain around 20 different texts (existing and commissioned) about 3000 words each, plus an extensive bibliography per chapter. Editorial choices will privilege extracts and short essays on precise topics rather than general theories about digital tools. In an international context, it is important to connect different design communities reflecting on this matter across borders. Therefore a maximum of the selected texts will be translated in and from English, Dutch, French, Spanish…

The reader will come at least in two intertwined forms. Firstly, an online platform for aggregating and criticizing existing or commissioned materials. In the spirit of the research motto, this platform will be launched as soon as possible and will evolve along its usage. Possible directions include collective text editing and translation, print-on-demand and multi-format publishing facilities, re-use of existing archives and the integration of digital means of communication with physical events. Secondly, at the end of the 2 years, a final/official object (not excluding parallel or derived publications on more precise topics) will be released.

Open Content

Because we want the materials of the reader to be used and reappropriated in the ecology of free culture, everything will be published under open licenses and with libre software and fonts. We are conscious of copyright issues we might encounter with non-free texts, but this should not prevent us from publishing a core component of the reader. We need to work on strategies to work around this: negotiating with publishers, publishing annotated extracts or freeing texts through translation. The choice for free licenses and media platforms allows the project to be augmented even after the launch of the reader or materials to be recontextualized.


In order to prepare the final version, we plan to set up as soon as possible an online platform where we could add all the texts that could potentially fit in the reader. This website would invite others to add texts and to discuss them, this to help the final editorial choices. This project is actually the logic continuity of our project Issue Magazine (, 2008) and else if (2010-). The first one (whose first theme was “Publishing Online”) proposed a commenting system per paragraph to invite readers to discuss the texts rather than making general appreciations about it. The second one had the same commenting system but proposed also a flat archive of texts that could then be gathered into reading lists, themes… It actually never publicly came out and it is now moulting into LGRU’s reader platform based on existing applications (wiki, git…), with the following functionalities:

  • collective archiving
  • peer-review, discussion
  • critique collective text editing
  • speaking as a single voice or as many voices
  • Print-on-Demand: extended or thematic versions, possibily including comments, discussion and other peripherical texts,
  • facilitating the reappropriation of existing material to create new content,
  • integration of digital means of communication with physical events,
  • testing the possibilities for multi-format publications and collaborative translation.

The platform will be made available under an GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL).


Networked graphics

network, centralized, decentralized, distributed, versioning, collaborative, collective, end-users/pro-users, online/offline


layout, DTP, prototype, typesetting, history of tools, workflow, material, canvas, generative, command line, dynamic, e-publishing, print on demand

Piksels and lines

bitmap, vectors, generative, manipulation, connecting tools, medium, materiality, gesture, drawing, typography

Abstracting craft

manuals, documentation, teaching, learning, sharing, free culture, collaborative, booksprint, open standards

Editorial team

Alexandre Leray and Stéphanie Vilayphiou are responsible for the editorial aspect of the reader. Alexandre and Stéphanie are graphic and media designers and are part of Open Source Publishing ( since 2009. They are concerned with design in the digital age, with writing and reading, free software, programming and cultural studies. They are interested in teaching and sharing knowledge and culture. They developed the software Brainch, a web platform for collective writing, and else if (formerly Issue Magazine), an online symposium on the basis of texts under a free license. Publication: “Writing Design — Towards a Culture of Code” (Back Cover n°4, 2011)

Alexandre and Stéphanie will be supported by an international ‘sounding board’ of practitioners and theoreticians:

Nicolas Malevé
BE/ES - developer, artist, data-activist
Camille Pageard
FR/BE - art historian
Lilly Nguyen
US/VN - information-scientist
Eric Schrijver
NL - designer, artist, author
Ivan Monroy Lopez
ME/NL - artist, author, programmer



  • A first list of relevant texts: Reading
  • (repository of texts on media)

Additional remarks

I hope to have something sensible to add; in the meantime I am very happy we get to use this exciting new web platform.